Summary of Moore's Testimony
E. K. Moore was navigator of the U. S. S. Boston in January, 1893. He testified to Capt. Wiltse's preparations for landing prior to Stevens' request, establishing clearly that both Wiltse and Stevens apprehended a situation volatile enough to warrant the landing of U.S. peacekeepers to protect American lives and property. Moore had also been in Honolulu in 1874 on the U.S. Ship Portsmouth under the command of S. J. Skerrett, now Rear-Admiral. Moore begins his testimony by describing events of 1874 when both U.S. and British troops went ashore at Honolulu to put down rioting that happened when the Kingdom legislature elected Kalakaua King. On that occasion American troops were quartered at the government building, and British troops were quartered at Iolani Palace, for a week or two. They arrested native ringleaders of the riots and turned them over to government officials. A German, Mr. Berger, was head of the Hawaiian government forces. Moore then describes the events of January 1893. The Provisional Government quickly established itself in power, producing political stability and economic security that caused stock values to rise. Social events and friendly race relations continued as before, without much of an interruption; and the government continued to function with all the same officers as previously except for the Queen and her cabinet. Moore's testimony ends with an extended discussion of the importance of Pearl Harbor as a potential U.S. naval base, its relation to a possible future canal through Nicaragua, and the defense of the U.S. west coast.
"Mr. Moore. In 1873, when I was out there, Lunalilo was King. In 1874, about the time of our arrival, February, 1874, David Kalakaua was elected King. ... There was great commotion ... considerable excitement and great interest through the entire community; but the rioting was confined entirely to the natives ... serious rioting, so much so that the United States forces were called upon to suppress it. ... The Chairman. The commotion was, therefore, radical and severe? Mr. Moore. It was. The Chairman. You say the United States forces were called at the instance of the Government. What Government? Mr. Moore. I did not intend to say at the instance of the Government; but we were called through the American minister. And I am under the impression that the request was made on him by the governor of the Island of Oahu. ... The Chairman. Were there any other ships of war there? Mr. Moore. Yes; the U. S. S. Tuscarora and the English ship Tenedos. The Chairman. Were there any British forces landed? Mr. Moore. Yes; our forces landed first, followed by the British forces. The United States forces were on the shore perhaps twenty minutes before the British forces landed. The Chairman. How long did they remain on shore? Mr. Moore. From one to two weeks; I do not remember the exact time. The Chairman. Did they camp on shore? Mr. Moore. Yes.
"The Chairman. Do you recollect what buildings they occupied? Mr. Moore. The United States forces were quartered in two buildings; one, the legislative building or hall, the other the armory. Both of these were near the landing. The British troops were quartered at the palace. The Chairman. Iolani Palace? Mr. Moore. Yes; Iolani Palace. The Chairman. This legislative hall of which you speak was near the landing? Mr. Moore. It was. The Chairman. Was it then the Government building? Mr. Moore. It was then the Government building, and corresponded to what is now known as the Government building. The name of that building I do not remember, but it corresponds to what is now spoken of as the Government building. ... The Chairman. Do you recollect who was then the commander of the King's forces, the Government forces? Mr. Moore. I think it was Berger; but I am not sure. The Chairman. Was he an American or native? Mr. Moore. A German or Austrian, I think. That I am not positive of. ...
Mr. Moore. ... The people had broken into the legislative hall and had attaked the legislators with billets of wood, legs of tables, and such other offensive weapons as they could get hold of, and also pitched one or more of the representatives out of the window or windows, 20 feet or more above the ground. As soon as we arrived on the spot the rioting ceased. The British troops came shortly afterward. The riot started again; then we surrounded the buildings and arrested the leaders of the riot. After that, at about 10 or 11 o'clock that night, there were some stones thrown at the building, and we turned out and patrolled a portion of the town; and again, about 11 o'clock that night, a shot was fired, apparently at our sentry, which was returned by the sentry, and we again patrolled the town. But we could find nobody. From that time on everything was perfectly quiet. "The Chairman. What did you do with those persons who were arrested? Mr. Moore. Turned them over to the Hawaiian authorities. The Chairman. Were the arrests numerous? Mr. Moore. I think possibly eight or ten ; I do not think more. The Chairman. Were they the ringleaders of the rioters? Mr. Moore. Yes.
"The Chairman. Did your detachment carry flags along? Mr. Moore. We did with our detachment. The Chairman. Was there a flag raised over your camp when you went into quarters—United States flag? Mr. Moore. Yes. The Chairman. That flag was taken down when your troops returned aboard ship? Mr. Moore. Yes.
"The Chairman. During that period you say you heard annexation spoken of? Mr. Moore. I heard annexation to the United States spoken of at that time; during our stay; not necessarily during this riot. ... I remember its having been spoken of by some gentleman there as being the ultimate destiny of the Hawaiian Islands. And no later than during the past visit, Judge Widemann stated in a talk that he had with some of us, that he had predicted it prior to our visit twenty years ago. The Chairman. So that it was in contemplation amongst the people who were speculating about the future? Mr. Moore. It was. ...
[Regarding the events of January 14-18, 1893]
Mr. Moore. There were many rumors flying about, and among the rumors was one that a committee of safety of 13 or 16—a committee of safety of citizens—had been appointed Saturday afternoon, the 14th, and that they were having meetings continually to consult with citizens; and then on Sunday rumors were going about to the effect that there were organized bodies of citizens' troops. But I saw none of them and knew nothing definite. Those rumors were rumors of the reorganization of what was called the old militia—reorganizing the old militia was spoken of generally. ... While on shore I saw no one to get any news from but when I returned to the ship I found preparations—I found several rumors had reached the ship, how, I do not just remember and orders had been issued for the officers to remain on board ship until further orders. There was talk of the forces being called upon to land at any time, because it was thought that a riot would break out in Honolulu at any time. But the nature of the riot anticipated I did not know. ... I remained on board ship for ten days or two weeks. ... going home only for a few minutes, perhaps once or twice. On one or two occasions I went up to my home, but returned at once. ... My home was about a mile from the landing. ... The Provisional Government was not announced until Tuesday. ... The troops landed about half past 4 on Monday, the 16th, and the Provisional Government was not declared until Tuesday, the 17th, about 3 o'clock.... An organization undoubtedly did exist Saturday afternoon. ... The committee of safety. ... I heard annexation to the United States talked of that Saturday afternoon. ... I heard the same thing twenty years before. ... I had heard of the organization of the committee of safety on Saturday, the 14th. ... My understanding was that it was in opposition to the Queen. ... I do not recollect hearing of any organization at that time for annexation to the United States, although annexation was spoken of quite freely, and a desire for it expressed on the streets by the business men.
"The Chairman. Before the Boston went on that cruise to Hilo you did not hear of any such organization? Mr. Moore. I did not. The Chairman. Do you think if it had existed you would have known it? Mr. Moore. I think if such an organization had existed before our departure for Hilo I would have known something of it; but not necessarily so. The Chairman. No; but you had good opportunities? Mr. Moore. I was quite intimate with several of the gentlemen who were afterward engaged in this movement, and I never heard such a thing intimated.
"The Chairman. How did matters progress in Hawaii after the establishment of the Provisional Government, with regard to the preservation of law and order? Mr. Moore. Exceedingly well, so far as I knew. For a little while at first there was considerable excitement, much anxiety. The fears that I heard expressed were of incendiarism by the natives; but I only heard a few cases where incendiarism was suspected. But I do not know whether the fire was caused by incendiarism or in the ordinary way—through carelessness.
"The Chairman. After the Provisional Government had been inaugurated, taken possession of the barracks, etc., did you hear of any attempted organization on the part of the Queen's friends to have a conflict with the Provisional Government and overturn it? Mr. Moore. I heard frequent rumors of organizations. ... I did not think that an organization of that kind could be successful. ...Because the Provisional Government, after it was once established, had the arms and munitions of war. They had control of the custom-house and of the other offices, not only over these islands but the other islands; and I saw no way in which arms could be gotten into the islands without the knowledge of the officers of the Provisional Government, and I did not think that Government was foolish enough to let arms go into the hands of the other people. What I did think of was incendiarism.
"The Chairman. Now, take the condition that the Hawaiian Islands was in, and Honolulu particularly, after the establishment of this Provisional Government, and up to the time you left the island, do you think the Queen could have overcome that Provisional Government without the assistance of some foreign power? Mr. Moore. I do not think so. ...
"The Chairman. I suppose the ladies of Honolulu have their social meetings and entertainments as they do in other parts of the world? Mr. Moore. Yes; they are very sociable and agreeable. A charming society exists there; an educated and elegant society, as much so as you can find in any small community. The Chairman. Does that include persons having Kanaka blood? Mr. Moore. A great many of them. The Chairman. Are they good people? Mr. Moore. Charming people. Some of my friends there were amongst the natives and half whites. My immediate associates were mostly among the whites; but I was entertained by both natives and whites.
"The Chairman. Was there any obvious damper thrown upon the society of Honolulu by the accession of this Provisional Government or authority? Did people seem to hold it in dread, or did the social amenities among the families of Honolulu proceed as they had done before? Mr. Moore. Sociability ceased for a little while after the outbreak, but soon continued much as before. At general grtherings you would see the families of those interested in the Provisional Government associating freely with those who were known to be Royalists and the Queen's adherents. So far as the social relations were concerned the change of government did not seem to have much effect; that is, from the outward appearance of social relations, the change of government seemed to have little effect. The Chairman. There was no line of demarcation drawn in society upon the question of loyalty or disloyalty to the Queen? Mr. Moore. I think not.
"The Chairman. How is commerce affected by this change? Mr. Moore. I know of that by hearing people talk. At first the business seemed to be checked, but after a few days it seemed to revive and there seemed to be more confidence. There seemed to be confidence in their business relations after a few days. As to that, not being engaged in any commercial pursuits myself, I only state that from hearsay— as to the checking of business and its increase thereafter— although I remember gentlemen stating that stocks increased in value within a few days and stocks were going up.
"The Chairman. As to the commerce with the outside world. Was there any restraint imposed upon it by the Provisional Government? Mr. Moore. I think not. ... Things were going on as before. ... In charge of the same officers. The Chairman. It was an exchange of the Queen's Government into the hands of the Provisional Government, with the same offices. Mr. Moore. It was.
"The Chairman. From your observation of the effect upon this Government called the Provisional Government during the time that you remained in Honolulu, could you say that it was a good or bad Government. Mr. Moore. It is my opinion that it was a good Government. ... because the people had confidence in it.
[Extended discussion of Pearl Harbor as a potential U.S. naval base, and its relation to a possible future canal through Nicaragua and the defense of the U.S. west coast.]